Mlungisi Makhanya, President of eSwatini’s opposition political party, the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), has expressed disappointment over the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) visit to the country.
This after Botswana President and the Chairperson of the SADC Troika, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, was accompanied by Botswana’s International Relations Minister, Dr Lemohang Kwape, on a visit to eSwatini. They met with eSwatini acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku.
The visit follows a week of pro-democracy protests by eSwatini residents who have called for democratic reforms.
“There was no fact-finding mission. What we had was that we had a delegation that came and spent almost an entire day meeting with government and some royal people that government decided to bring along masquerading as representatives of the people. What happened is that they met, for instance, with the king’s brother-in-law who’s a pastor. They met with one of the lawyers who’s known for placing a lot of government work, who was paraded as a civil society leader. And they took so long that they even went to recruit people that they made to wear some church gowns and make them to appear as representatives of the faith-based community,” says Makhanya.
Video | Eswatini Protests: SADC did not come on a fact-finding mission, says Mlungisi Makhanya
Makhanya says SADC did not visit any hospital or make any attempt to visit hundreds of young people who have been detained since Monday and allegedly have been deprived and denied access to medical health.
“We’re extremely disappointed that the SADC delegation came here without doing basic research, establish who are the stakeholders in terms of political parties, civil society organizations and the leading figures that have been involved in the all the things that have been happening here. The people of eSwatini have been disappointed by SADC so many times that we expected little. But I must say that by even that low standard, they disappointed us to the extreme,” says Makhanya.
Makhanya says the people of eSwatini have suffered for a long time in poverty while the royal family lives lavishly.
SADC has called on all individuals, groups and organizations that have grievances to desist from acts of violence. It also urged the security forces to exercise restraint in their response to restore order.
Eswatini Unrest I PUDEMO leader Mlungisi Makhanya updates on the situation